Premier League champions Manchester City will have a new look to their backroom staff this summer.
Junama Lillo’s recent departure to take over as first-team coach at Qatari club Al Sadd has left City manager Pep Guardiola looking for a number two for the fourth time since he arrived in the Premier League.
Domenec Torrent, Mikel Arteta, and Lillo have all filled the role of Guardiola’s right-hand man and the City boss will next turn to Enzo Maresca.
It will mark a swift return for the 42-year-old Italian, who guided City’s under-23 side to a first Premier League 2 crown in 2020/21, a feat they repeated last season.
Maresca, whose most recent coaching assignment was first-team coach of Parma in his native Italy, has first-hand knowledge working with many of City’s young players, including CJ Egan-Riley, Josh Wilson-Esbrand, Fin Burns, Romeo Lavia, Luke Mbete, James McAtee, Cole Palmer and Liam Delap. Most will either be loaned out or utilised to bulk up Guardiola’s first-team squad.
The departing Lillo moved to Manchester in June 2020 helping the first team win two Premier League titles and a League Cup.
“My time at Manchester City has been one of the most enjoyable periods of my career,” he told City’s website.
“To work alongside Pep, his backroom staff and this group of players has been a pleasure and I hope to have contributed in a small way to the fantastic success we have enjoyed on the pitch.
“I wish the club the very best and hope they can achieve all of their ambitions moving forwards.”
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Guardiola was resigned to making further changes to his backroom staff when another coach to graduate from the successful City Academy, Carlos Vicens, was offered, and accepted a job as head coach at Dutch side Heracles Almelo.
However, Vicens and the Heracles performed a U-turn after they were relegated from the Eredivisie. Vicens will remain at City where he has made a name for himself specializing in designing set-plays which were extremely successful last season.
Guardiola will also still have the services of Rodolfo Borrell, who managed the side in his absence in an FA Cup tie at Swindon last season.
The new coach and players will have their first big get together when the champions return for pre-season training on July 11 before they jet out to the United States five days later where they will play Club America and Bayern Munich.
City will then face FA Cup winners Liverpool in the Community Shield on July 30. The game has been moved from Wembley to Leicester’s King Power Stadium in order to accommodate the women’s European Championship.
City have already been active in the transfer market, securing the services of forwards Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez from Dortmund and River Plate respectively.
They are also seeking a holding midfielder and a left-back. Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko are expected to be sold and there may be other high-profile departures as Guardiola revamps his squad.
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Updated: June 20, 2022, 6:59 AM